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With this new triple disc compilation of the complete organ music of Matthias Weckmann (1616-74), Matteo Venturini helps us to appreciate the huge significance of this composer on the establishment of the north German organ school, as well as the beauty and inventiveness of his writing. In his organ works, Weckmann achieves a marriage of styles between the Italian- influenced music of Heinrich Schütz and the contrapuntal complexity and refinement of the Dutch keyboard school from Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. For this recording, Venturini sensibly interleaves the shorter toccatas, canzonas and preludes between the larger chorale fantasies. In the case of the Lutheran chorale ‘Es ist das Heil uns kommen her’ and the Ambrosian hymn ‘O lux beata trinitas’, these are monumental sets of variations, each containing elaboration on verses lasting over 30 minutes. The organ for this recording (completed in 2011 by the builders Dell’Orto & Lanzini) is based strictly on the work of Arp Schnitger and convincingly helps the listener step back into the early baroque soundworld. There is no shortage of characterful sounds for Venturini to draw on, and his fine performances embrace Weckmann’s different styles with grace, conviction, occasional humour and virtuosity aplenty.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica

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